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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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148                              MFE  OF
all the royal palaces, and not a clay passes that lie
does not see the king. In spite of Ids eighty-one
years he works unwearicdly in those hours which arc
not occupied^by the court; he is active and punctual
in his immense correspondence, aii<l answers ovoty
letter of the humblest scholar with, the most amiablo
affability. The inhabitants of Berlin and Potsdam all
know him personally, and show him as much honour
as they show the king. "With a slow but firm stop, a
thoughtful head, rather bent forward, whoso features
are benevolent with a dignified oxpi'oHsion of noblo
calmness, either looking down, or politely responding
to the greetings of the passers by with kindness, and
without pride \ in a simple dress, frequently holding
a pamphlet in his hand, resting on Ids bacli, so ho
wanders frequently through the streets of Berlin and
Potsdam, alone and unostentatiously, a noble picture
of a blade of wheat bendmg beneath the weight of its
numerous rich golden ears. Wherever ho appears he
is received by tokens of universal esteem, the passers-
by timidly step aside for fear of disturbing hint in his
thoughts; even the working man looks respectfully
after him, and says to his neighbour, "there goes
Humboldt/"* And whoever has had the happiness of
conversing with him., never forgets the force of his
lucid, simple, natural, and xinaffected conversation-, for
in everything he says, depth and learning, clearness
and unbounded knowledge, are revealed without any
of the pride of learning, the stiff pedantry and precise-
ness of many German men of science. Hximbolclt .has
evidently been educated in the highest society; Ms
manner is dignified, open, unaffected, and frank; he
has lived with all nations, and adopted and united in
himself the advantages of all.
With the name Humboldt, a whole world seems to
rise before the mind's eye. We involuntarily see him
standing on the highest points of the Cordilleras or
the^Altai, and looking down into the realms of nature,
gazing into the depths of the ocean and into the
boundless expanse of heaven like an inspired prophet.